Hurricane Tomas didn’t help, but I cannot recall a year when sportsmen and colleagues I knew, admired and formed closed relationships with said goodbye forever.
The list includes Mr Basketball, Morgan “Magic” George; Photo Journalist and Helen Television Cameraman, Francis Tobias; and former national soccer player, Phillip Tisson, who was shot and killed in the United States. Although I never knew or met the late Kenneth “Wriggler” King, this basketball guru is worthy of mention along with Sean Phillips of Radio St Lucia who recently passed away.
I lost a close friend and colleague, not by the grace of God but on account of an unprovoked, childish and embarrassing incident at the CBN WINLOT Inter School Games at George Odlum Stadium, Vieux Fort. It resulted in another media worker and friend being assaulted and severely injured by this individual. Following this ugly incident which is before the court, things cannot, have not and never will be the same between us.
Although it seems that way, it was not all doom and gloom in 2010. In no particular order, here are some of the highlights of the sporting year.
Just when most of us thought high jumper Levern Spencer had bottomed out, she made St Lucians proud coming away with a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games, gold at the CAC Games and a treasure chest of medals on her professional tour. It all adds up to another Sportswoman of the Year title.
Remember the excitement and joy when Darren Sammy became the first St Lucian on the West Indies Senior Cricket Team. It was hysteria once again when the newly married man was named Captain of the West Indies team.
What a year for St Lucia’s Under-19 Cricket Team! They were crowned double champions of the Windward Islands Power Companies League and One Day Tournament. They also won the three-day 2010 TCL Group West Indies Under-19 Challenge.
St Lucia’s male volleyball team disposed of the competition winning the Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association (ECVA) title while the ladies placed third. In beach volleyball, the men’s side won the ECVA Olympic Qualification Beach Volleyball Tournament with the ladies capturing second place.
Rugby receives little exposure here, but our gals made a name for themselves overseas. They placed second at the North America and Caribbean Rugby Association Seven’s Championship in Mexico.
At the CARIFTA Games it was gold and silver for Siona Huxley in swimming. In the track and field segment of the Games, Sandisha Antoine struck gold in the female under-20 triple jump event.
How about the performance by Solange Lenihan of Chitolie’s Martial Arts Institute! She made local history by becoming the first St Lucian to participate at the USA Open World Martial Arts Championship where she placed third in kumite.
In dominos, St Lucia also did well on the world stage placing third in an international competition here.
Turning our attention to boxing, a hurricane (not Tomas) wreaked havoc. Dalton “Hurricane” George won the gold at the Creole Boxing Championships. He also delivered a devastating knockout at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.
In long distance running reigning Sportsman of the Year, Zepherinus Joseph, placed second in the OECS Half Marathon, second in the Run Barbados Marathon along with third place finishes in a half marathon in Martinique and marathon in Quebec, Canada.
At the OECS Squash Championships in St Lucia, Charlie Sonson placed second in men’s singles play. The home team placed third overall in the competition.
There you have it folks, an unforgettable year in sports but here’s hoping 2011 will be a memorable one for all the right reasons.